Anime and Cosplay

Ten Rules to Remember for Denver Comic Con 2017

Sadly, she's the one who's in violation of the updated DCC17 costume policies.
Sadly, she's the one who's in violation of the updated DCC17 costume policies. Aaron Thackeray
There’s going to be an embarrassment of nerdy riches at the Colorado Convention Center this weekend, June 30 through July 2, when Denver Comic Con returns for a sixth successful year. If the annual increase in attendance tells us anything, it’s that DCC gets bigger — and in a lot of ways better — every summer, and that means that even the three days slated for the celebration may well prove insufficient if you want to see everything. Not only that, but some important rules have changed, so there’s even more to consider this year in terms of strategizing, planning and making the most of the weekend of pop-culture goodness.

In that spirit, here's a list of things to keep in mind as you’re making your schedule — you know, aside from printing out and playing DCC Bingo during your downtime. If you have other suggestions, share them in a comment so we can build a collective Borg-like database of how to do DCC right. In the meantime, ten rules to remember:

click to enlarge The Big Blue Bear is trying not to look. - SPECIAL TO WESTWORD
The Big Blue Bear is trying not to look.
Special to Westword
10. Don’t Wear a Thong
Cosplay is a huge part of comic-book conventions, and has been for years now — and it’s exploded in the last decade or so. But in keeping with the family-friendy goals of the event, DCC has decided this year to get a little more conservative with the dress code. That means no exposed chests (no underboob or side-boob, either), no butt-cheeks (that’s plumbers butt or thongs), and no bare feet. These rules are unisex, so while they rule out Red Sonja, they also nix Conan; while this might depress some of the more prurient interests of attendees, it could also remove the need for a “Cosplay Is Not Consent” program, which reminds people not to harass costumed participants, sexually or otherwise. Best line in the new rules: “The illusion of nudity is still nudity.” It’s so…zen. Truly a DCC koan to ponder while in line.

click to enlarge Gun-themed cosplay will probably be tough to pull of without the guns. - AARON THACKERAY
Gun-themed cosplay will probably be tough to pull of without the guns.
Aaron Thackeray
9. …or Try to Carry a (Prop) Weapon
After a potential tragedy was blocked at the Phoenix Comicon earlier this year, the organizers of DCC are making every effort to allow what they can in regards to stage weaponry while still keeping attendees safe. As a result, a whole slew of weapons are prohibited: anything that fires projectiles (even Nerf bullets!), anything metal or wooden, and so on. Yes, even if they’re props — the full list is here, and while there’s some gray area, count on the DCC security erring on the side of caution. Essentially, the only things that will be allowed in are those made of made of foam rubber, soft plastics, or cardboard — and even then, there's no guarantee. Probably better to leave anything weapon-like at home — which has the added bonus of freeing up a hand to bag more swag.

click to enlarge What does your backpack say about you? - CESAR AT FLICKR
What does your backpack say about you?
Cesar at Flickr
8. Pack a Backpack
Whether or not you’re cosplaying (more on that below), you’ll be wise to bring a backpack — or at least something to sling over your shoulder so you don’t have to carry plastic grocery-style bags around with you when you buy something. Besides, bringing a pack means that you can not only buy stuff, you can bring stuff, too. Like quick (and healthy) energy boosts, some spare bags and boards to carefully store that rare comic you happened across in the dollar box, bottled water and iPhones and tablets and a spare pen for autographs. And speaking of drinks — make sure you’re watching yourself. If you’re sipping a drink and then carelessly gesture at a booth over a box of unbagged comics — well, that triple-caf vanilla latte just got a lot more expensive.

click to enlarge The Blue Marvel at Ace is here to save the day. - MONICA STOCKBRIDGE/FEED MEDIA
The Blue Marvel at Ace is here to save the day.
Monica Stockbridge/FEED Media
7. You Don’t Have to Eat at the Convention Center
Not that the vendors inside are terrible — last year a surprising number of small-business folks were selling some delicious stuff in the Food Court, from hand-squeezed lemonade to pork barbecue sandwiches to brats to fresh-fried doughnuts. Still, the prices on the inside are clearly going to be somewhat inflated, so don’t be afraid to venture outside into Denver’s downtown. Not only will you find that lots of places are celebrating comic-con right along with you (the sincere nerd-appreciation folks over at Ace Eat Serve on East 17th Avenue designed a themed cocktail called The Blue Marvel just for the occasion — and if you’re in costume, you get a free hour of ping-pong!), but you’ll also get a much-needed jolt of sunshine.

This vendor, for example, is into comic art and "Dio forever, man." - AARON THACKERAY
This vendor, for example, is into comic art and "Dio forever, man."
Aaron Thackeray
6. Support the Creatives
Sure, you might want to see your favorite comic-book artists (Neil Adams, Jae Lee, Frank Cho, Allen Bellman and too many others to list) and writers (Larry Hama, Art Baltazar, Andy Mangels and more) while you’re at the convention — and by all means, you should. But don’t forget to support the aspirations of the pencilers, inkers and storytellers who are just starting out. Buying a piece of art, or a book that you hadn’t yet heard of, or a locally-grown comic book isn’t just good karma — you just might be able to someday say that you knew that specific creator back in the day.

Keep reading for five more Comic Con rules.

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Teague Bohlen is a writer, novelist and professor at the University of Colorado Denver. His first novel, The Pull of the Earth, won the Colorado Book Award for Literary Fiction in 2007; his textbook The Snarktastic Guide to College Success came out in 2014. His new collection of flash fiction, Flatland, is available now.
Contact: Teague Bohlen